So the book I'm reading that I described below is pretty good so far (which is to say that I've only read about three chapters, and I'm enjoying it). It's called "Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously", by Julie Powell. My favorite part so far is the second chapter, where the author writes about first finding her parents' copy of "The Joy of Sex" and then soon after reading "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and realizing (at age 11) how similar the two books are. Excellent.
I made my potato leek soup tonight, and as promised it was fantastic and had barely any ingredients. Here 'tis:
about 3 cups diced potatoes
2-3 cups sliced leeks
2 quarts water
2-3 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper to taste
(In reality, I used two largish potatoes and, um, enough water to cover them entirely with some to spare. Also I probably only used like half a cup of leeks, maybe a little more, because I wasn't sure I wanted that many. But whatever.)
After peeling and dicing the potatoes and leeks, put them in a large pot with the water and salt and boil for about 45 minutes to an hour. Mash them up with a fork or spoon (I used a potato masher), leaving the soup a little chunky but not too much. Add the pepper and butter. If it's going to be a while before you eat it, let it cool uncovered and then bring it back to a simmer before serving.
Here's what Julia had to say about it: "smells good, tastes good, and is simplicity itself to make." True.